A poem for Monday

We had a heatwave in July but other than that this summer has been perfect for me. Nights are cool and breezy and the light is often oblique, creating plenty of shadows for sun-shy girls to duck into.

Still, lovely as it is, this gradual dissolve to golden is not something I'll put up a fight against. I suppose it's all different when you have children who need back-to-school supplies. Or when you have a cottage that needs to be locked up, boats and docks pulled out of the water.

My seasons are measured in much smaller things; walkable distances, flowers and the distance produce has travelled. Sure, I'll pick my favourites but the truth is I relish the changes: That peaches in August are incomparable. That lilacs in May could break your heart. That the golden hour in September is something you want to bottle. That even unmentionable snow has its miraculous first moment every year.

This is by Jane Kenyon. Also, see Ben Pentreath's beautiful post and Helen McClory's too.

Three Songs at the End of Summer
A second crop of hay lies cut
and turned. Five gleaming crows
search and peck between the rows.
They make a low, companionable squawk,
and like midwives and undertakers
possess a weird authority.

Crickets leap from the stubble,
parting before me like the Red Sea.
The garden sprawls and spoils.

Across the lake the campers have learned
to water ski. They have, or they haven’t.
Sounds of the instructor’s megaphone
suffuse the hazy air. “Relax! Relax!”

Cloud shadows rush over drying hay,
fences, dusty lane, and railroad ravine.
The first yellowing fronds of goldenrod
brighten the margins of the woods.

Schoolbooks, carpools, pleated skirts;
water, silver-still, and a vee of geese.

*

The cicada’s dry monotony breaks
over me. The days are bright
and free, bright and free.

Then why did I cry today
for an hour, with my whole
body, the way babies cry?

*

A white, indifferent morning sky,
and a crow, hectoring from its nest
high in the hemlock, a nest as big
as a laundry basket ...
                                 In my childhood
I stood under a dripping oak,
while autumnal fog eddied around my feet,
waiting for the school bus
with a dread that took my breath away.

The damp dirt road gave off
this same complex organic scent.

I had the new books—words, numbers,
and operations with numbers I did not
comprehend—and crayons, unspoiled
by use, in a blue canvas satchel
with red leather straps.

Spruce, inadequate, and alien
I stood at the side of the road.
It was the only life I had.
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